Postdoc Research Fellow in time-domain multi-messenger astronomy - Physics and Astronomy

United Kingdom
£30,942 - £42,792
Jan 02, 2021
Feb 01, 2021
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
Position Details

College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

School of Physics and Astronomy

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £30,942 to £40,322, with potential progression once in post to £42,792.

Grade 7

Full Time fixed term contract until 30th September 2026

Closing date 15th January 2021


The Institute of Gravitational Wave Astronomy at the University of Birmingham, UK, invites applicants for a postdoctoral research position in the area of time-domain and multi-messenger astronomy. The successful applicant will work with Dr Matt Nicholl on explosive transients and electromagnetic follow-up of gravitational wave sources. They will develop novel tools to identify transients in next-generation optical survey data, as well as leading observational campaigns and/or theoretical studies of these events.

Applicants with a background in time-domain astronomy, observational data analysis, or machine learning are especially encouraged to apply.

The astrophysics group at the University of Birmingham have active programs with observatories such as VLT, HST, Swift, Gemini and the Liverpool Telescope. The Institute of Gravitational Wave Astronomy are members of the LIGO and LISA consortia and active in all areas of GW detection and analysis. Dr Nicholl's group are members of ongoing surveys including ENGRAVE, ePESSTO+, and LSST:UK.

The position is funded for up to five years. The starting date is October 1, 2021, but a later date can be negotiated.


To create and contribute to the creation of knowledge by undertaking a specified range of activities within an established research programme and/or specific research project.

Summary of Role
  • Work within specified research grants and projects and contribute to writing bids
  • Operate within area of specialism
  • Analyse and interpret research findings and results
  • Contribute to generating funding
  • Contribute to licensing or spin out deals with demonstrated commercial success (such as revenues, asset or company sales, IP generated) and/or public understanding of the discipline or similar

Main Duties

The responsibilities may include some but not all of the responsibilities outlined below.
  • Develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint research, with assistance of a mentor if required
  • Contribute to writing bids for research funding
  • Analyse and interpret data
  • Apply knowledge in a way which develops new intellectual understanding
  • Disseminate research findings for publication, research seminars etc
  • Supervise students on research related work and provide guidance to PhD students where appropriate to the discipline
  • Contribute to developing new models, techniques and methods
  • Undertake management/administration arising from research
  • Contribute to Departmental/School research-related activities and research-related administration
  • Contribute to enterprise, business development and/or public engagement activities of manifest benefit to the College and the University, often under supervision of a project leader
  • Collect research data; this may be through a variety of research methods, such as scientific experimentation, literature reviews, and research interviews *
  • Present research outputs, including drafting academic publications or parts thereof, for example at seminars and as posters *
  • Provide guidance, as required, to support staff and any students who may be assisting with the research *
  • Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines*

* These indicative responsibilities may also be included in a research role at grade 6.

Person Specification
  • First degree in area of specialism and normally, a higher degree relevant to research area or equivalent qualifications
  • Candidates must have a PhD in astronomy, physics or equivalent by the date of appointment.
  • High level analytical capability
  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly
  • Fluency in relevant models, techniques or methods and ability to contribute to developing new ones
  • Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively
  • Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes
  • Contribute to the planning and organising of the research programme and/or specific research project
  • Co-ordinate own work with others to avoid conflict or duplication of effort

Informal enquires to Informal enquires to Matt Nicholl -

We value diversity at The University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community '

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